Outstanding Personalities of Czech Baroque
Art in the Baroque period literally spilled into the countryside. Notable artists began to appear even in the most remote regions, frequently leaving behind stunning pieces of work. Music became an important part of life, even among common folk. Sculpture experienced a huge boom, painting received completely new impulses and architecture strode on at the greatest pace of all.
Being the oldest of the famous Italian architects working long-term in the Czech lands, Carlo Lugaro
constructed the spectacular building of Prague's Klementinum
, rebuilt the adjacent Church of the Holy Saviour
and designed the Church of St. Ignatius
on Charles Square. Throughout Bohemia there were many churches and chateaux created by this giant. If searching for the most prominent family of master builders, you would certainly come up with the Dientzenhofers
. Father Christopher
and his son Kilian Ignatius
designed several amazing buildings. They often worked together, as in the case of the Church of St. Nicholas
in Lesser Town, Prague. Prague’s Loreto
, Břevnov Monastery
, Portheimka Palace, Monastery in Teplá
, Kladruby Convent
, Broumov Monastery
and its estate along with hundreds of other ecclesiastical and secular buildings throughout the country make up the fascinating legacy of the Dientzenhofers. Perhaps the most remarkable architect of his time was Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel.
His vision stood apart. He is regarded as the creator of the mystical and deeply symbolic style referred to as Baroque Gothic. His most famous masterpiece is the pilgrimage site on Zelená hora near Žďár nad Sázavou
, while more of his unique structures can be found in Kladruby, Křtiny
, Kutná Hora
and Chlumec nad Cidlinou
. Santini’s work and life is explored in Mariánská Týnice Museum
and the New Generation Museum in Žďár nad Sázavou
Probably the most important sculptors of Czech Baroque were Matthias Bernard Braun
and Ferdinand Maxmilian Brokoff
. It is incredible that Braun joined the sculptors' guild with quite possibly his most ingenious masterpiece, the statue of Lutgardis situated on Charles Bridge
. His legendary statues of Vices and Virtues can be found at Kuks
. Brokoff owes his fame mainly to sculptural groups of Jesuit Saints on Charles Bridge. Several statues of saints standing on this famous bridge (including a wooden mould for the statue of St. John of Nepomuk) brought recognition also to his father John.
Numerous Czech Baroque masters are represented in our selection by Petr Jan Brandl
. He painted mainly religious motifs, but also created several outstanding portraits and noble houses were vying for his services. Many of his works can be seen in the collections of the National Gallery
in Prague. The spirit of the grace of Italian Baroque was brought to Czech lands by Karel Škréta
, who lived in Venice for years, after his family had gone into exile following the Battle of White Mountain. In Prague
he painted altarpieces in the Church of Our Lady
before Týn and the Church of St. Procopius. Another of his masterpieces is the Passion Cycle adorning the Church of St. Nicholas
From a long list of cantors, band leaders and choirmasters let us choose the two most prominent names. Early Baroque is represented by the Knight Adam Michna of Otradovice
. It was he who gave Czech Baroque music an impulse for rapid development. His hymns such as Loutna česká (Czech Lute), Svatoroční muzika (Holy Year Music), Česká mariánská muzika (Czech Marian Music) as well as his mass music can be heard on concert stages even today. High Baroque is exemplified by Jan Dismas Zelenka
, a master whose creativity reached far beyond Czech borders. Admired by Bach and Telemann, Zelenka was original and unique, often considered to be a Catholic counterpoint to Johann Sebastian himself. Dozens of mass and religious songs, the excellent Requiem, Magnificat, Te Deum along with the brilliant secular piece Sub olea pacis et Palma virtutis rightfully belong in the treasure chest of world Baroque.
Albrecht von Wallenstein
One of the most important Generals of the Thirty Years' War, military genius, as well as successful entrepreneur, politician, horse expert and the man behind significant construction projects. Wallenstein Palace
is just the top of the impressive pyramid of the incredible number of buildings he financed. His high demands on architects were legendary, mercilessly firing them if he was even a little dissatisfied with their work.
Polyxena of Lobkowitz
The list of personalities must include at least one significant woman of the Baroque period. A faithful Catholic, patron and supporter of religious orders, Polyxena born to the House of Pernstein, donated a rare wax-coated statue of the infant Jesus, which she had received as a wedding gift from her Spanish mother, to Discalced Carmelite Friars with the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague. Today, the statue is famous around the world as the Infant Jesus of Prague